STOCKTON SPRINGS - In January 1943 19-year-old Jerry Dobbins was killed after his plane was shot down over France. He helped save another man's life, but was never formally honored, until now.
With the help of American Legion Post 157 and Senator Susan Collins, the World War II veteran has been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for Valor, seventy years after his death.
"It fills me with a sense of awe that a 19 year old would give up his life so that his comrade could live. That is absolutely extraordinary," says Sen. Collins.
Mel Schulstad, Dobbin's commanding officer, had the flu and was not on the plane. His son says the accident stayed with him until his recent death.
"He thought of this as his airplane and his crew. And he was proud of them. He would be delighted," explains his son John.
Both veterans and family members agree the large turnout speaks to the strong sense of community in Stockton Springs.
"I know how tight small communities are and how much they work for each other and do things for each other," says Gene Dobbins, Jerry's nephew.
Members of the post add it was fitting to finally honor Dobbins in time for Veterans Day.
Jaclyn Cangro joined WVII ABC 7 and WFVX Fox 22 in September of 2013. She was raised in suburban New York and graduated cum laude from Emerson College with a Bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism in 2013.
While at Emerson, she won the 2012 New England Emmy Award for Best College Newscast as co-executive producer. She was also nationally ranked by the Sportscasters Talent Agency of America (STAA) as one of the Top 20 Sports Broadcasters in the country, being one of two females on the list.
When not on the air, she enjoys watching and rooting for the New York Mets and New England Patriots.
She’s excited to explore all Maine has to offer! If you have any story ideas, contact her at JCangro@wvii.com or tweet her @jaclyncangro.